LIU DISRUPTION OF SELJUK EMPIRE i2< the sack of Baghdad and the murder of the Caliph, aftei which the Caliphate, the spiritual centre of Islam, ceasec to exist. This marks-the end of what was in many ways a great period. Nothing is more interesting to one deeply interested in the welfare of Persia than to watch how in the Abbasid period Persian superiority in everything but the bravery born of fanaticism reasserted itself, how when the arts of peace flourished, Persian ascendancy was re-established, and how later on Persian dynasties once more began to reign in Iran. Little can be gleaned of the condition of the masses at this period, but it is reasonable to suppose that it depended almost entirely on the strength or weakness, the justice or the injustice, of the monarch and his governors. There is no doubt that, as a rule, there was terrible oppression, for this is the normal state in the East under an Asiatic government. At the same time it does not altogether follow that the life of the masses was un- happy because they were misgoverned. In many cases, especially where villages escape assessment or can bribe an assessor, taxes are extremely light, and the Persian always loves the excitement attending the uncertain incidence of the maliat, or revenue. VOL. II K.